Thursday, November 18, 2010

Falling through and icicles that aren't

Well in the interest of having something worthwhile to say in this blog while I was out riding today I stopped at a pond near the road I was riding on. Neat, sometimes unexpected things happen around water especially when said water is ice covered and you happen to fall in (more on this later). And Arrowhead is still more than two months away and anyway stopping to smell the roses is important, right? Anyway, I stopped at this pond that was frozen over (see picture below) and thought briefly of trying to walk on the ice. Since I knew that ice was very thin and couldn't possibly hold my weight I thought it would be entertaining to the blog readers (of which there are at least seven but probably not many more – my mom, Jenny's mom, Jenny, and then four followers who have nothing better to do than read my babble) to do something idiotic to tell you about. And then it occurred to me that I could tell you about the time I put one of my legs into a creek while riding at -10 F in Alaska and thus spare myself getting all wet and cold today.

Now up near Fairbanks it gets pretty cold and small creeks freeze all the way to the bottom. Water still flows though sometimes and has to flow up and over the creek bed – which in now full of ice. Water gathers, flows over, the wet ice freezes, water backs up, flows over again, etc. Each time it flows over the ice wets where it flows over and then that freezes so that dam gets bigger and deeper each time it flows over. It's kinda like a big icicle on it's side blocking up a stream but it's not circular (or even conical) like an icicle, its more elliptical but not exactly because it has to conform to the lay of the creek I think of it now it bears little resemblance to an icicle. Anyway we were riding along and came to where a creek flowed across the trail. This creek had the ice dam/horizontal icicle-that's-not thing going on and so the other bikers in front of me were slipping and sliding as they walked across the ice – and there was some nice smooth snow right next to the ice so I went bopping over thinking I was so smart and fell in up to my hip in water backed up behind the ice dam (it was cold enough that there was a layer of snow on top of the water). Huh, turns out this is pretty common in AK. We don't have much of that in Wisconsin.

So I don't have to try and be just comes naturally.

In a weird twist I put white bar tape on my handlebar grips last night. The reasoning behind white bar tape eludes me. You put it on and gee doesn't it look nice...until you touch it. How often does one take the time to wash one's hands during a bike ride? It is not uncommon for me to have chain grease, or melted chocolate from moose-shit looking food (yes, I am going to keep bringing that one up. Especially when I am low on stuff to write about such as I am now) on my hands when I ride my bike. Not to mention that a good way to hold the bike off the ground, so you can spin the pedals to fix a mishifting derailleur or what have you, is to turn it upside down so the saddle and handlebars are touching the ground with the wheels in the air. I can't imagine white bar tape actually staying white...which is exactly why I have it on my bike. See, some persnickety biker had their bike in the bike shop where I work (actually past tense – worked – because most people, inexplicably, hang up their bikes in the winter) brought their bike in to get new bar tape because the white that they had on there was turning to shades of gray - as anyone with the intelligence of Mishka the talking dog could predict. We were going to throw it out but I snagged it figuring I could use it for something. Now I have bar tape on my bike that's supposed-to-be-white-but-isn't on my grips (to insulate them better than the rubber would by itself). Speaking of white bar tape makes me think of the picture below which would make perfect sense if it weren't for the white bar tape.

This is an example of the wood-stacking equivalent of white bar tape. I happened on this on my ride today.

If I was wearing a pair of these sunglasses I would look cool...right? And at $300 they are a steal too.

Not quite as fun as snowmobile trails but – for this time of year – I'll take it.

Off on a narrow side road.

The pond I almost Polar Beared (think plunge) for your entertainment.

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